Across the country community centers are uniquely positioned to prepare a wide range of individuals for, and help place them into jobs and careers. The comprehensive nature of family support services offered, the on-going relationship with neighbors, the deep multifaceted expertise of staff, and extensive connections to community assets provide a foundation for strong workforce programs.
The Winner and Honorable Mentions for the 2011 ARAMARK Building Community 2011 Innovation Award for Workforce Readiness demonstrate success in delivering job readiness programs to remove barriers that limit peoples’ ability to get and keep jobs. They provide essential training and support services in job-related “hard” skills and the personal “soft” skills.
Northern Virginia Family Services (NVFS)
Training Futures Program
Training Futures is an intensive twenty-five week job readiness program that prepares more than 100 unemployed and underemployed youth and adults for jobs in local health care institutions and businesses. Since 1996, over 1,000 low-income, unemployed, or underpaid individuals have been able to enter or re-enter the workforce.
Highlights of Training Futures include:
A key element of this program is a unique partnership with Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) that allows participants to combine training with college credits. Students earn 17 college credits, just two courses shy of a business credential, and further enhance their attractiveness to employers.
A 2010 assessment of Training Futures
graduates revealed the following:
East End Community Services
Family and Job Connections Program
Family and Job Connections’ innovative approach to workforce development identifies specific neighborhood and community revitalization needs and prepares workers to fill those needs. What began as a unique partnership with OSHA to train workers in green deconstruction and building has evolved to a social enterprise that developed 60 new jobs last year and serves to divert waste and save valuable materials from local landfills. Read more…
Operation REACH, Inc.
Gulfsouth Youth Biodiesel Project (GYBP)
New Orleans, LA
Since 2009, the Gulfsouth Youth Biodiesel Project (GYBP) has been operating as an innovative youth-led social enterprise and green jobs training program to prepare low-income young adults, ages 16-24, for work in the Gulf Coast’s emerging green economy. The program focuses on the collection and recycling of used cooking oil into eco-friendly biodiesel fuel for distribution to commercial diesel fleets across the city. Read more…
The Up Center
Up Center Books Program
The Up Center Books program combines workforce readiness with enterprise to teach participants the skills needed to run their own small online businesses. By selling donated books and other media on the Internet through eBay, Amazon, and other online marketplaces, participants develop critical skills, raise a modest salary and use a portion of the revenue to help fund further training and operational costs. Read more…